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The World Health Organization and Indigenous Australians

            The World Health Organization's (WHO) definition of health is not only the absence of disease but also a state of physical, social and mental well being. The definition and concept of health varies in relation to the individuals/community morals and values and often reflect the background of the people. Health perceived by Indigenous populations have been defined as not only physical health but the social, emotional, cultural and spiritual well-being of the whole community. This definition describes a complete view of life in a repeating cyclical concept (life-death-life). The WHO has also declared the social determinants of health and how the states of these social determinants correlate with the general level of health in a society. The WHO also states that the health of the indigenous populations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders) of Australia has become a major health priority. .
             Research has shown that Indigenous Australians continue to suffer an inequality of health and a greater burden of disease than the rest of the australian population. The need for primary health care is vital in promoting the health of these people. Primary health care can be defined as essential care that is evidenced based using practical and socially acceptable methods and are widely available to individuals and families in communities that is affordable and easily maintained. Primary health care increases the quality of life by reducing health risks. It is characterized as having a holistic understanding of health in terms of wellbeing rather than the absence of disease. .
             Having access to health care is a fundamental human right, however in today's society there is an estimated gap of 10-15 years in both health and the life expectancy between Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islanders and the rest of the Australian population due to the conditions in which they have found themselves in. Although the Australian public health policy has included Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health since the 1960s, this gap between Indigenous australians and other Australians have since remained with minimal improvements.

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